November Quotation of the Month

“We need to understand the past in order to make informed moral choices about the present, to connect our personal histories to a larger collective history. But the larger history can never be fully comprehended; the complexities and pluralities of the past always resist definitive evaluation and summary. Reconstructing the infinitely complex experiences of the past through the paltry bits of evidence about it available to historians inevitably renders some aspects of the past as incommunicable.” – George Lipsitz

20 Years of Irish American History & No Lamps Were Lit for Them

Roger Daniels and Kevin Kenny both talk about the histography of two specific minority groups, Asian and Irish respectively. Kenny discusses more about the difference of time and how the groups had the agency Miller’s Emigrants and Exiles did not give them. Kenny brings up Guinnane and Doyle both criticize Miller’s work for being too focused on the system and not the people, a removal of agency. Kenny also investigates the racial aspects of Irish migration through the research on whiteness. Kenny with the evidence from Fields decide that the question of whiteness is to presumptive to ask of academics and remove the agency of the migrants as well. Daniels focuses on the Asian-American research and makes the argument that the academic field needs more conversation on the field in general. Daniels discusses the “The Invention of Ethnicity: A Perspective from the USA,” as a prime example of how these top five immigration historians of America do not discuss Asian-American migration because they see it as an exemption and not something to discuss further. Daniels also researches the laws of the time that decided the fate of many Asian-Americans, mostly Chinese, through Selig Perlman. Daniels does consider Mary Coolidge how in the first and most anti-Asian immigration period that lasted until the 1920’s did have supporters. Daniels splitting up of the research into four different periods does show the growth of the field and how it is more dynamic better than Kenny does through the dates different works were written.

Pegler-Gordon Book Reviews

John Bukowczky’s review of In Sight of America is one of basic praise. Bukowczky discusses how the book and Pegler-Gordon, as the author, bring new insight into both the specific field of immigration but also histories on race could also use this book as Bukowczky said. Bukowczky does say that Pegler-Gordon could be giving too much order to the immigration policies of the turn of the Twentieth Century. Krystyn Moon focuses much more on what the article specifically states. Moon divides the book into three parts and explains both what Pegler-Gordon writes but also her own understanding of the text. Moon also begins and ends the article with her opinion of the article in a very formulaic approach. David Hernandez’s approach to writing a review on Pegler-Gordon’s book was to write to create an argument. Hernandez does still discuss the plot of the book as with Moon, but Hernandez does not just give a summary of the plot like parts . Hernandez give just enough plot to understand the what the book was saying while using the rest of the review to back the argument that Pegler-Gordon’s book is all about race and their stereotypes during this time. Hernandez also gives a specific reference to one example of Pegler-Gordon to make this point, that of the ‘paper son’ ploy by Chinese migrants. Hernandez, in the end of her review, does state her opinion of the book that it is exceptional for demonstrating the strain between execution of immigration policy and the policy itself which from my understanding is a peripheral argument of the book. Hernandez’s review seems to be the prime example of a book review, just enough written so the reader knows what the book is about, examples taken from the book to prove evidence for your argument for the main argument of the book, and at the end give your opinion of the said book.